The state of California is a racist entity. From Orange County to Los Angeles, to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and on. First the state impoverishes Black & Brown families with inadequate housing, minimum wage employment, and battered, broken schools. Then the state expounds on that impoverishment by policing and incarcerating the young people bled out by this system. After that, when such young people find themselves behind bars as recipients of “services” overseen by “shadow” organizations funded or controlled by the state of California, they are put on display for liberal progressives to gall over what the benevolent state can still “provide”; as if the kids were simply livestock led astray which the state was kind enough to contract other folks into shepherding back towards decency, rather than racialized subjects relegated to the farthest corners that no money can buy.
But the state and its proxies are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It’s the state which first leaves Black and Brown youth to underfunded and overcrowded schooling within abandoned neighborhoods to begin with, and then it’s the state which places the most vulnerable of such youth on programs such as probation, which is a life-sucking form of surveillance and regulation that would hardly allow anyone to develop their education and work opportunities successfully. The moment young people in destitute neighborhoods fail to meet the stringent policies enforced against them and their families, the state moves at the first minute to further penalize them. Where is the constitution in this? Or the supreme court of California?
America is a war machine against non-white bodies, and I am deeply offended, but as a Chicano in California I’m used to being offended by the state’s policing and harassment strategies, which act as attrition towards my character and that of my peers. Yet what disturbs me as much is how many “reform” organizations out there tout their non-profit services as “the helping hand” in this racist power structure. The professionalization of what once may have been a genuine effort of resistance to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown youth is now a mere hashtag for fundraising and photo opps; it is also the continuation of a long history of radical ideas being co-opted by the state and its beneficiaries.
I will not be silent in the matter, however. Instead, as I know it is my responsibility to do, I will spread this information as far and wide as daylight and earth allow me to. Our youth and our families deserve to live in dignity. It is our life’s work to advance it.